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An Unprecedented President
January 30, 2003
By Eddie Ruff

What is it that sets this time apart from so many that have gone before? What is it about this president that he has set war fever above all else? Why is it this era we must face with deep chagrin and dark despair, when there were seemingly so many others we could have suffered through, which contained even more dire threats?

Our noble president said it himself: it's like a bad movie. Of course, he was talking about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but many of us, in fact, most of us, see it as George Bush and the U.S.A., Part II. And it's been mentioned, we can only hope this sequel ends the same as Bush I - as a one-term experiment in failure.

Let's go back and see how Bush's predecessors handled crisis in the Middle East - is there a precedent for this rush to war?

In 1967, the 6-Day War swept around Israel, culminating in the unification of Jerusalem and the humiliation of the Arab countries. President Johnson, already fully embroiled in Vietnam, wisely kept our military at bay, even though the Jews may well have been wiped from the map. Were the same scenario to be played out today, do you believe George W. Bush could show the same restraint?

Eerily, a similar scene WAS played out just a few short years later, as an attack of Biblical proportions fulminated itself against the Holy Land - and was once again miraculously beaten back. Why, George W. would literally salivate with pride and pleasure were this near-Armageddon to happen now! And you can bet his reaction would see to it that the blood in the Valley of Megiddo would indeed reach to the height of a horse's bridle. Strangely enough, that mighty Republican of renown, Richard M. Nixon, didn't see fit to respond with an overwhelming show of force. Once again, restraint was the watchword.

Then we had that wimp Jimmy Carter - you know, the guy that brought Egypt and Israel together for the historic talks and treaty? Remember Camp David? Of course you don't - all our hawkish population can recall is the hostage debacle and humiliation perpetrated by the Ayatollah in 1979-80. Most Reaganites would credit Carter's subsequent defeat to this failure. And all that peacenik peanut-picker ever got out of his 4 failed years was a lousy Nobel Peace Prize! Shows what restraint can get you.

Of course our hero Ronnie-boy was no wimp! He stood up to the Ayatollah, all right, and fed arms to Iraq at breakneck pace throughout the '80s. (Hmmm. might that be where some of the presumed "weapons of mass destruction" came from? Perish the thought!) One might ask why the bombs didn't fly in 1983 when our embassy was bombed in Lebanon, or again later that year when over 400 Marines were killed as they slept in their barracks in downtown Beirut, but what would be the point? It was a different world, then, by cracky, and the shadow of M.A.D. held its sway over us all. No wonder our Great Communicator was encouraged to shout down the Berlin Wall.

Can you imagine anything remotely similar coming out of George W.'s mouth were similar circumstances to arise today? Hell, no! The world would have been obliterated by 1984!

When Poppy Bush took over in 1989 he was handed the great gift of hegemony soon thereafter - and refused to squander it, even as the Gulf War began, and ended. No, George W.'s dad was smart enough to build a coalition, and rely on it, and to get in and get out while the getting was good. True, he left a madman in power in Baghdad, but hey, last time I looked, Kaddafi still ran Libya, and what has he done lately? And the Ayatollah eventually shuffled from the mortal coil with nary a peep. So restraint was still a watchword to follow.

Time and time again Bill Clinton showed restraint on the world stage, if not with the interns in the Oval Office, and left with head held high, and why shouldn't he? We had just experienced 8 years of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity! The deficit was wiped out, people were happy, and our foreign policy was sane. Not that Clinton couldn't have thought up some excuse to beat the drums of war, and "lead" the U.S. into some foolish endeavor against some imaginary "axis of evil," but that isn't how he chose to run the country.

But it IS how George W. has chosen to run the country. And he's running it into the ground. This supposed "man of God" has chosen a God-forsaken course of hostility and chaos, showing none of the restraint of our leaders which have gone before. We can't possibly connect the dots and draw any correlation between Saddam and 9-11. Even the president's own advisors have routinely stated that the current policies being enacted will lead to MORE terrorism against U.S. interests, not less. Meanwhile, the deficit is skyrocketing and the economy is in the toilet.

And this president, today, is squandering the good will built over the past several decades by those truly noble presidents who have gone before. America, in a hegemonic grab for oil in the Middle East, may well shrink in stature on the world stage as a result. That is, if the actions of George W. Bush don't usher in the REAL Armageddon (something he seems to crave), and the stage itself ceases to exist. These very dangerous times call for restraint, not an unprecedented rush to war.


Eddie earned his B.A. in Political Science in 2001 and currently works for the ubiquitous left-wing media in California.

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